The UK has lost its ‘measles-free’ status with the World Health Organisation.
Urgent action to boost the number of children and young people receiving life-saving vaccinations has been set of by the Prime Minister.
While the number of people participating in vaccination programme remains high – with uptake exceeding 90% for most childhood immunisations – there has been a small but steady decline in coverage in recent years.
This decline means that the UK has lost its ‘measles-free’ status with the World Health Organisation (WHO) – only three years after the virus was eliminated in the country.
Boris Johnson has now called for health leaders to renew their efforts to meet 95% for both doses of MMR. Currently, just 87% of children are getting their second dose of the jab.
231 cases in 3 months.
He said; “we’ve now seen hundreds of cases of measles in the UK this year. One case of this horrible disease is too many, and I am determined to step up our efforts to tackle its spread.”
Adding; “From reassuring parents about the safety of vaccines, to making sure people are attending follow-up appointments, we can and must do more to halt the spread of infectious, treatable diseases in modern-day Britain.
In the first quarter of 2019, there have been 231 confirmed cases of measles in the UK.
Part of the plans to increase the uptake in vaccinations includes working with social media companies to promote accurate information about vaccination and deal with the misinformation frequently spread online.
Improved Public Health.
Head of Immunisation at Public Health England Dr Mary Ramsay said: “Measles is one of the most infectious diseases known to man – only one person travelling back to an area with lower vaccination rates can lead to an outbreak. Anyone who has not received two doses of MMR vaccine is always at risk.”
The Royal College of Nursing has said that while the suggestions “go some way towards improving the uptake of vaccines”, it warns “A system-wide approach” is needed.
RCN Professional Lead for Public Health Helen Donovan, said: “better access to appointments combined with improved public information and communication with parents on a one-to-one level, is the most effective way to ensure more people receive vaccines they need.
“Nurses are pivotal to earning public trust in the vaccination programme and are a vital source of information for parents and guardians.